Got Reading?

(Originally posted on edleaderweb)

We often spend so much time teaching reading, tracking progress and the like that we sometimes forget a major responsibility of ours: teaching children the love of reading. The skills that go along with reading are crucial, we need to teach that, but we also need to foster a love of reading. It is a fine line – over teaching and under teaching reading. We want to avoid both. Here are some ideas on developing a love of reading in your students (which, in my opinion, will lead to academic gains in all subject areas).

3 key components

Provide Choice
Provide Time
Provide Access to Books

Choice

Reluctant readers are often confused by free reign choice. For many students we will need to provide some guidance. One idea would be to make an acceptable list of books you select. This will give them choice, but within your set parameters. You can also build a classroom library with books that you approve. You can conduct book passes, create student book reviews, and on and on. Ms. Jordan and Ms. McLean (and many others) can assist you with these strategies.

Students often do not know their reading level? Do you know your reading level? I have no idea what my reading level is! There are numerous ways to gauge reading level and then offer appropriate books. You can use lexile scores ( http://www.lexile.com/) or use websites such as http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/search.

How can I tell if they are reading if they have a choice in book rather than a whole class novel? How can I manage?
I think this is not an either or preposition. I would certainly recommend keeping large group reading assignments, but I think choice should be offered as well. Have students do book talks, book chats, character summaries, book store sales pitches, etc… Remember, choice reading is to harness the love of reading.

Provide Resources (Tme)

This is tough–we already have so much to “cover”! Many schools have reading time built into their schedule. This is sometimes done in home room or a similar period. Some schools block off a reading period each day. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this school wide. However, how can you do this in your class? I would say start small–maybe a period here and there. Maybe the first ten minutes of class. Who knows you may really like it and it can grow from there. Check out this helpful resource. If we all incorporate reading into our class routine, our kids will get the recommended dose of 90 minutes of reading a day.

http://www.angelastockman.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/beginningrws.pdf

Access to Books

Books can get expensive but there are a number of ways to build your classroom library. Every room should have a classroom library. Most public libraries hold a sale or two each year where you can get books dirt cheap. The scholastic warehouse book sale is right around the corner. You can really stock up there. You can ask students to donate used books. Here is another idea:
“Host a read-a-thon after school, and invite kids to bring books, blankets, pillows, and snacks. Play some music, play some games, and invite fellow teachers to read or perform excerpts from their favorite books. Give away some great door prizes and throw in a pizza or two. Kids will come, and when they do, ask them to donate a book from a wish-list of titles generated by teachers and students in lieu of an entrance fee.”

Ask students to donate books. Use some of your school issued money or state money to purchase books. Also, remember you have a great library full of books.

You can use sites like
http://www.donorschoose.org
http://www.bibliomania.com/
http://www.angelamaiers.com/2008/09/books-for-free.html

Once you have these in place you are ready to really start developing the love of reading in your students. But, of course, it does not stop there. This is your chance to start talking about books, asking students about books, make connections between authors, genres, etc…Students should be discussing books, sharing insights and more.

I noticed a student walking home the other day reading a book. He was walking on the sidewalk by the track, but fully engrossed in his book. I am not sure this is very safe, but he is obviously a reader. I think we would all LOVE to see all of the kids doing this. It would be great to see students in the hallways with their books, walking home with their books, catching a few minutes to read in the lunch room, etc.. .Every day when kids pass me on the way home I remind them to get their reading in tonight. Please do the same. The more they hear it, the more likely the will listen!

We need to build a community of readers where literacy is built into everything we do.

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